Iowa Measurement Research Foundation

Final Report

Submitted by
Debora L. Liddell, Associate Professor
Higher Education & Student Affairs Program
Department of Educational Policy & Leadership Studies
The University of Iowa

September 12, 2014

The Iowa Measurement Research Foundation has generously funded the support of a quarter-time research assistant for three consecutive years to assist with the development of new instruments that measure (1) the socialization of new higher education professionals, and (2) the career commitment of mid-level professionals in higher education. The purpose of this report is to update the Foundation on the progress of this project.

Work Accomplished

Much of the work that was originally planned for this project has been accomplished with the collaboration of Professors Maureen Wilson (Bowling Green State University), Amy Hirschy (University of Louisville), and Kate Boyle (University of St. Thomas), as well as the assistance of IMRF-funded Research Assistant, Kira Pasquesi. With funding for a quarter-time research assistant since August 2011, the following has been accomplished:

An extensive review of the literature on the socialization of new student affairs professionals was completed.

The Survey of Early Career Socialization in Student Affairs (SECSSA) was developed, piloted, and revised. We collected data using the SECSSA with membership from a national association (American College Personnel Association). Analyses confirmed three distinctive factors that lead to the development of a professional identity; these results are consistent with the literature that grounded the study. These three factors, and their relative Cronbach’s coefficient alpha are: commitment to the profession (α= .734), congruence with the values of the profession (α= .708), and intellectual investment (α= .708). The reliability coefficient for the entire global professional identity score was α= .795.

A model of Early Career Student Affairs Socialization was developed, looking at student characteristics, early professional experiences, and professional identity. The model was tested using the data from the first study. Specifically, we examined the following predictors of socialization: (a) the characteristics of graduate programs, faculty, curricula, and experiences; (b) cohort size and characteristics; (c) role of faculty; and (d) supervised field experiences (assistantships and practica opportunities).

A review of the literature on mid-career professionals has been completed. The SECSSA was revised to align more closely with mid-career issues (e.g., career satisfaction and longevity). The second instrument, the Survey of Seasoned Professionals in Student Affairs, was administered in December 2012 to 400 participants, along with two other instruments – the Career Commitment Scale (Blau, 1985; Carson & Bedeian, 1994) and the Career Entrenchment Scale (Carson, Carson, & Bedeian, 1995).

Extensive analyses of our mid-level data allowed us to confirm three existing factors in the SSPSA –values congruence with the profession (α = .63), community connection (α = .70), and career contentment (α = .74). Using regression analyses, we examined the relationships between professional identity (our measure) and career entrenchment and commitment.

Several products have resulted from this project, including:

Conference Papers

Pasquesi, K., Liddell, D.L., Wilson, M.E., & Hirschy, A. Professionals in Transition: Career Life Cycles of Women in Student Affairs. Under review for the annual meeting of American College Personnel Association, March 2015.

Pasquesi, K., Wilson, M.E., Liddell, D.L., & Hirschy, A. Career Contentment and Retention of Midlevel Student Affairs Professionals. American College Personnel Association, March 2014.

Wilson, M. E., Liddell, D.L., Hirschy, A., Pasquesi, K., & Boyle, M.B. Career Entrenchment, Career Commitment, and Professional Identity of Student Affairs Professionals. Association for the Study of Higher Education, November 2013.

Wilson, M.E., Liddell, D.L., Hirschy, A., Pasquesi, K., & Schoper, S. Professional Socialization Institute: Findings on New Professionals. American College Personnel Association, March 2013.

Liddell, D.L., Wilson, M.E., Benjamin, M., & Ju, P. Professional Socialization Institute: Faculty- Practitioner Dialogue to Link Scholarship and Practice on the Supervision of New Professionals. American College Personnel Association, March 2013.

Boyle, K., Hirschy, A., Liddell, D.L., Wilson, M.E., & Pasquesi, K. Contributions of Graduate Preparation Program Experiences to Professional Socialization. American College Personnel Association, March 2012.

Manuscripts Published or Accepted for Publication:

Hirschy, A. S., Wilson, M. E., Liddell, D. L., Boyle, K. M., & Pasquesi, K. (in press). Socialization to Student Affairs: Early career experiences associated with professional identity development. Journal of College Student Development.

Liddell, D. L., Wilson, M. E., Pasquesi, K., Hirschy A. S., & Boyle, K. M. (2014). Development of professional identity through socialization in graduate school. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 51(1), 69-84.

Manuscript Under Review:

Wilson, M. E., Liddell, D. L., Hirschy, A. S., & Pasquesi, K. Professional identity of midlevel student affairs professionals. Journal of College Student Development.

Manuscript in Development:

Boyle, K. M., Hirschy, A. S., Liddell, D. L., Wilson, M. E., & Pasquesi, K. Anticipatory socialization into student affairs.

Finally, I want to take the opportunity to express my deep gratitude to the Iowa Measurement Research Foundation for its very generous support, without which I would not have been able to complete these projects.